Reviewed by Sam Robinson
Rated PG. Starring Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock. Directed by Dennis Dugan.
Imagine you’re standing in a room. In this room are several tables, each with a dozen scripts on them. Each script contains a short sketch that might work well on a Saturday Night Live style of show. You gather all the scripts into a big pile and wander over to a paper shredder in the corner, and start feeding every script through one-by-one. Empty the shredder onto the floor and start sticking the scripts back together with sticky tape. Voila: Grown Ups 2.
This might seem like a harsh way of describing Grown Ups 2, but honestly the film is a mess.
The sequel to 2010’s Grown Ups follows the adventures of four middle-aged, immature men in suburbia. They swim in the local watering hole, face off against a bunch of jocks, and spend an extended amount of time in Kmart. Yes, Kmart.
What group of men would hang around Kmart other than to fulfill a sponsorship deal?
This film doesn’t work, and the main reason why is that there’s no story. Grown Ups 2 doesn’t go anywhere. We just follow these middle-aged guys around this town as they do stuff and interact with people. It’s like the scriptwriters thought of all these sketches but just had no desire to piece them together into a logical or entertaining sequence.
What we’re left with is a juvenile film (deers urinating, married men ogling other women in front of their wives) that I’m surprised garnered only a PG rating. I’m aware that the Grown Ups title is to imply that these guys are anything but, however it would have been nice to go a little deeper. There’s no intelligence here at all.
The biggest issue here is maturity. Adam Sandler’s Lenny and his mates don’t have it. I assume those who wrote the script don’t have much of it either. But what is maturity? It certainly isn’t skiing off the roof of a house while firing guns into the air (as depicted in this film), but is it a behavioural thing at all?
The Bible talks about the idea of maturity in Christ. This doesn’t mean that we’ll be unable to do silly things when we give our lives to Jesus, but it does involve a change of character and behaviour.
Colossians 1:28, written by Paul, reveals the aim of his mission as he shares the gospel:
We proclaim Him, warning and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone mature in Christ.
See how the idea of maturity here is different to simply being ‘grown up’? This language is about seeing people come to trust in Jesus, but also to grow to be more like him.
To be truly mature is to be like Jesus. If we call ourselves followers, then this should be our aim: to live for Jesus in everything and grow in godliness with the help of the Holy Spirit. But in all of this, we also have a responsibility to share the gospel with others so they will too will trust in him and grow in godly maturity.
Grown Ups 2 is definitely not a case study into godly maturity. You might find a laugh or two here, but I suggest giving it a miss. I’m giving it one-and-a-half stars out of five.
Grown Ups 2 is available on Blu-Ray, DVD and streaming on Quickflix.